Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Debt is Slavery

debt is slaveryBeing in debt feels horrific.  It's something that's always hanging over your head.  If you amass enough of it, you can end up owing entire paychecks to the lending institution.  Not that you pay them you're entire paycheck.  You can't, so your interest rates rack up and you end up even further under water.  In this way, debt has you in bondage. In this way, debt is slavery.

We are familiar with the definition of slavery being one person owning another down to every last hair on their head.  I do not mean to diminish the suffering these human beings go through.  (And they do, in fact, still go through it to this day.)

But Merriam-Webster has two other definitions for slavery, both of which may describe your situation if you find yourself in debt:
"1. Drudgery, Toil
 2. submission to a dominating influence"

When  you decide to borrow money, you are deciding to submit to a dominating influence.  That influence is consumerism.  That influence is the culture of immediate gratification that we live in.  That influence is the banks.

After you submit, you must go through that drudgery and toil to repay every penny and then some.  You have lost your freedom to spend or save your money however you would wish.  You have lost your freedom to vacation.  To send your children to good schools.  To be able to spend the money you work for on the things you truly value in life.  In some cases, you could even lose your home, your vehicle, or your business.

But there is good news.  You have the power to liberate yourself from debt. The easiest way is to avoid it in the first place.  Live within your means.  Practice provident living.  If you feel like you need to spend more, find ways to make more money before you do.  Don't allow yourself to become a victim to advertising schemes that entice you to borrow money.

If you find yourself already in over your head, you can still free yourself from this bondage.  First, don't take out anymore debt.  Then, make it a priority in your budget to erase the damage you already have incurred.  You may have to turn over parts of your budget to your goal, giving up things like entertainment, travel, and shopping for non-necessities for a while.  You may have to shop for food by buying what's on sale rather than what you want to eat.  The clothes in your closet may no longer be quite as trendy.  You may feel like you have no social life whatsoever.

But it's worth it.  Because on the other side, you can shake off your shackles and once again taste sweet freedom.

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